Tidbits of Life in India
Events that I would have no reason to put in a travel journal update, but which are interesting nonetheless:
-I entered the dining room today only to be scared by a mouse, and it was scared by me. I have seen this same mouse multiple times as I am eating dinner. (I'm also pretty sure there is a mouse next to me as I am typing in the computer room.) This may or may not be the same mouse that ran amongst a group of girls sitting on the floor studying in another room.
-Yesterday as I was taking a bucket shower, I had a salamander to keep me company.
-The girls constantly put their skin next to mine and say, "white!"
-The girls are VERY interested in knowing the names of my father, mother, sister, brother, etc.
-Parts of every school day include a full assembly in the morning (complete with prayer, pledging allegiance to India, and loving the region of Karnataka) as well as cleaning up the school area by sweeping with brooms made of weeds and picking up the paper constantly strewn about the yard.
-The girls did my hair today--by French braiding it "Indian style," whatever that means--and put a sticker in between my eyebrows. They have also put henna all over my left hand and wrist, telling me I am now beautiful...Like I wasn't before!
-I already have a lot of mosquito bites.
-Everyone refers to me as "aunty."
-They are crazy about playing hand clapping games, and find the hokey-pokey hilarious at all ages.
-In my first session of a self-esteem class today, the girls said that fat is beautiful.
-Safety pins often hold up clothes.
-As I was helping one girl learn her numbers in English, Isaw something in her mouth. Thinking it was candy, I asked her to show me. She then pulled a blade out of her mouth, and I was astonished to learn, and am still astonished to see every time it is used, that blades are used to sharpen pencils. This girl could not be older than 6.
-If I want to walk anywhere, students are literally physically fighting to be able to hold my hand. If I am sitting, people are touching and leaning on me from all sides. I have not had a sense of personal space since I arrived.
-The students are horrified if I sit on the ground, so they carry a chair everyone in case I want to sit down. They also use their clothes to dry my hands if I have just washed them, and will dust off my seat or the area I will sit in before I am allowed to sit down. If I try to sit on the ground, I hear a chorus of "Aunty, no!!! Chair, yes?"
-It is shocking that I drive.
-Studying conditions are hard, as many don't have pens or pencils, paper and its space is limited so they are forced to write miniscully, and there are power cuts in the boarding so we have been forced to study by lantern or by the window--and this is in the building that actually is powered with electricity!
-I read a pop-up book to students today, and they were so amazed that every other word out of their mouth was, "whoa!" They were almost speechless, which has never happened before.